You don’t have to be the 3rd basemen for the New York Yankees to feel  the power of public scrutiny.  Nor do you have to be the CEO of a Fortune 500 company to know that, when company performance is down,  your job is on the line.  Yet, in the dairy industry, some leading breeders and exhibitors, as well as executives from some producer service companies (AI, Breeds, Milk Recording, etc.) seem to think they should be immune from any level of public scrutiny.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see how this has happened.  If you read any of the dairy breeder publications, you always read about how wonderful everyone one is,  how each bull is amazing, each herd is perfect and each executive is gifted.  Well, that is quite simply not the case.  With the exception of the bulls, we all put our pants on one leg at a time.  We are only human.  We make mistakes. It`s only a problem, when we refuse to acknowledge them (Read – The Bullvine – Under Fire).

Be Prepared to Get Knocked Off That Pedestal

For years we have placed industry people on pedestals: from  breeders and directors to  company and association executives.   People were afraid to challenge those in the leadership spotlight and certainly, not publically.  The problem is by letting them build these “larger than life” personas; we have actually been hurting the industry more than helping it.

We Built This Monster Together

We have allowed our perception of good manners to interfere with common sense.  The dairy publications were afraid that the breeders would stop advertising with them.  That the A.I. Company would cancel their advertising contract, if they hinted that a bull was not perfect.  This is part of the reason we started the Bullvine.  We noticed that there was nowhere for breeders to go to get more facts or other opinions.  That’s why in our coverage of the World Dairy Expo we told it as we saw it (Read – World Dairy Expo 2012 Holstein Show – A Battle for the Ages).  Or when we looked at how two different A.I. cooperatives where operating, we had to test our own resolve (Select Sires vs. Semex – A Contrast in Cooperatives).  It’s not to sell more subscriptions.  Heck we currently aren’t selling anything.  It’s because we believe it helps the industry to tell it like it is and generate meaningful discussion.  In today’s business world accountability, sharing all the facts and the right to speak freely and honesty are a must.  So why not in the dairy industry?

We are all Role Models

I can’t tell you the number of times, I have seen 4-H youth try to emulate one of the “big wig” show people and actually do a far worse job in the ring than if they had just stuck to the basics and worked at making their calf look the best they could instead of trying to be “cool”.

The same is true in copying some of the “big time” breeders.  Your average local breeder sees them doing something, so they think they need to do it as well.  The modeling can occur in the show ring, on classification day, on picture day, on herd recording day, during a speech, in print ads and the list goes on and on.  Some actions hurt the industry much more than they help it.  When it comes to show ethics or hothouse herds, we can see personal gain cause industry pain.  (Read – The Hot House Effect on Sire Sampling)

There are some great ones as well

I am not trying to say that all people are bad.  Actually, I would say it is exactly the other way around and that  most of them are really great people. As with anything,  the actions of a few can hurt it for the rest and this happens even though I sincerely believe that the people I have met in the dairy industry are some of the highest quality people in the world.

I am trying to say that, in order for the breed to advance, in order for us to inform and to educate the next generation, we need to make sure that we are all held accountable for our actions.  That is why at the Bullvine, we tell it like it is.  Not because we are wanting to create controversy, but rather because we want to keep moving forward.  We want  to give breeders the facts.   The more we inform, learn,  educate and share, the greater the industry will be.

“Who the $%&* am I?”

When many of these bad apples or self-serving individuals try to get in my face, they tend to say the same thing “Who the $%&* do you think you are?”  Well the answer is I am nobody.  I am just the guy who cares enough, and is thick skinned enough,  to go to the effort to share my thoughts as well as the thoughts of some of the most progressive people in the industry who every day share with me.  Like everyone the Bullvine benefits by hearing diverse opinion.  We are here to start conversation, not control it. Moreover, reading the Bullvine is your choice.

I have had the opportunity to learn from some of the greats.  People like Lowell Lindsay, Bert Stewart, Doug Blair, David Chalack and Albert Cormier.  I have enjoyed picking the brains of some guys that I believe are among the next generation of greats, like Dave Eastman, Barclay Phoenix, the Patenaude`s  at Gillette, the Loewith`s at Summitholm and the Dyment’s at Glen Drummond.  Do I think all these people are perfect? Heck no, no one is.  Do all of them agree 100% with what I have to say?  I sure hope not.  However, the thing I love about all these people is that they are willing to speak their minds.

Lessons Learned Outside of the Dairy Industry

It was in working with Ken Blanchard, one of the greatest people I have ever met in my life, and the bestselling business author of all-time, that I learned that managers and leaders should not focus on the negative.  We need to “catch people doing things right” as well.  That is why the Bullvine tries to share stories, insights and perspectives with its readers (Read more – Marketing Lessons From Glen Drummond Aero Flower, Christ Nurse – Standing Tall and What PETA Does Not Know About Dairy Cattle)

In addition, what I have learned from working with some great corporations outside the dairy industry is that you seek out as many opportunities to learn as you can, and take pieces from here and there and do your best at bringing it together into a clear plan.  That is why at the Bullvine we are always looking for new people to interview or exchange ideas with.  We welcome new perspectives on  the top issues that  other publications  do not  touch.  We want to help breeders develop a plan that will help them achieve their goals.  We want to make people think.  We believe that everyone has a brain, and we respect our readers  enough to challenge their  thought processes. We won`t simply feed you the same old garbage.  We all know garbage in, garbage out.

The Bullvine Bottom Line

So the next time you read something in the Bullvine that is not all fluff and roses, or questions or challenges policies, positions, plans or actions, please remember we are not doing it to cause controversy, but rather because we believe that open discussion is the best way for the industry to grow, develop and move forward.  That`s success!